Draft OIC Statement on Agenda Item 4 Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Follow Up to the Worl

OIC Statement at the 58th Session of the Commission on Human Rights on Agenda Item 4 – Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Follow-up to the World Conference on Human Rights

Mr. Chairman,

I have the privilege of making this statement on behalf of the members of the Organization of Islamic Conference. The OIC takes note of the report of the High Commissioner document number E/CN.4/2002/18 with appreciation. We fully support and share her view " that prevention of the quest for gross violations of human rights and of conflicts is a defining issue of our time."

It is highly disconcerting that our failure to ensure the implementation of recognized human rights standards took a toll of millions of innocent lives, especially of Islamic people during the major armed conflicts, in Bosnia- Herzegovina, Kosovo, Palestine, Jammu and Kashmir and Azerbaijan.

The OIC countries condemn the scourge of terrorisms in all its forms and manifestations. The High Commissioner has rightfully stated that terrorism has yet to be comprehensively defined. The OIC considers that a comprehensive definition of terrorism must draw a clear distinction between the legitimate struggles for the realization of the right to self-determination and against foreign occupation or alien domination. We also believe that any discussion and outcome on the issue of terrorism would remain incomplete without adequate reference to acts of terrorism perpetrated by States and occupying powers.

To promote a common approach for combating terrorism, the OIC has called for an International Conference on Terrorism under the auspices of the United Nations to discuss terrorism comprehensively with a view to defining terrorism and identifying its root causes. As a contribution to this process Malaysia would host a Special Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers to specifically address the issue of terrorism in Kuala Lumpur from 1-3 April 2002.

The High Commissioner has called for full respect for the human rights in the campaign to eradicate terrorism. The High Commissioner takes note that some states have exploited the aftermath of September 11 to intensify repression of the occupied people under the pretext of eradicating terrorism. These states have also found it opportune to denigrate legitimate struggles for the right to self-determination by equating them with terrorism.

The OIC confirms the High Commissioner’s assessment that there has been recent upsurge in attacks against Islam and its values. The tenets, values and customs of Islam have been denigrated. Muslims have been the victim of discrimination and violence. Islam is religion of peace, harmony and tolerance. Taking innocent lives is forbidden in Islam. Associating Islam with terrorism is an assault against our eternal religion. The Islamic countries call upon the office of the High Commissioner and international community to launch a public and visible campaign to counter this negative and derogatory projection of Islam.

Any strategy on eradicating terrorism must address the root causes of terrorism. The tragedy of September 11 illustrated the threat from terrorism in a globalized yet unequal world: it threw into bold relief new dimensions of international insecurity and stability: it demonstrated the force of fanaticism: it revealed the breeding ground for this contemporary evil. These are some of the formidable challenges the world must confront. It should address conflicts and disputes which lie at the root of the anger, frustration and despair which breed the foot soldiers of terrorism; to eradicate poverty which promotes and exacerbates conflicts, and offers the recruits for terrorism; and to foster a dialogue among civilizations for cooperation and co-existence rather than a clash between Islam.

We commend the High Commissioner for raising the implications of September 11 on the rights of migrants and asylum seekers. The OIC is alarmed over attacks against the Arab and Muslim migrant communities and their racial and religious profiling in various parts of the world. These people have been targets of hate campaigns and direct physical assaults. Their worship places and cultural centers and properties have been attacked. These attacks and stereotyping of Muslims communities as terrorists is grave violation of their human rights. We call upon the office of the High Commissioner to commission a study on the implications of the frequency and implications of these racially motivated attacks against the Muslim and Arab people with appropriate recommendations for prevention of such attacks and arson.

We also need to tame unbridled globalization. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened over the last decade as a result of unequal globalization. We urge the High Commissioner to redouble her efforts in bringing the issue of the right to development at the center of the international debate on the human rights.

We congratulate the High Commissioner for her extraordinary efforts to make the Durban Summit against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance a success. It had been an extremely difficult process but we are glad that the international community has finally endorsed the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action. We assure the High Commissioner of our cooperation and support in the implementation of the outcome of this world conference.

The Islamic world shares High Commissioner’s concern regarding plight of refugees and displaced persons, specially Palestinians, Afghans and other Islamic refugees stranded in various countries, mostly developing countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh and several Asian and African nations. The inadequate international attention to the resolution of the conflicts that have engendered these mass refugee situations and inadequate financial and resource allocation for the improvement of their living conditions are among the fundamental sources for the perpetuation of the plight of refugees. It is essential that the principles of international solidarity and burden sharing is effectively implemented to find durable solutions and for protection of refugees.

The High Commissioner has mentioned the necessity for promoting a culture of prevention by operational and structural strategies envisaged in her Report. The international community must enable peoples under foreign occupation and states domination to achieve their inalienable rights in accordance with the UN Charter and resolutions. The occupying powers must respect the principles of international human rights and humanitarian law.

The OIC supports the High Commissioner’s call for building a global human rights culture, which values worth of every human being, diversity of cultures, religions and civilizations. The OIC believes that all segments of society have a role for the realization of this objective. The respect for human rights and human dignity are core values of Islam. We assure the High Commissioner of our full cooperation in promoting these values universally.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.